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Sweden's Butterflies

Tour Code: SWE05

A 6-day tour of central Sweden in search of an interesting selection of butterflies, moths, dragonflies and other wildlife in a peaceful and relaxing rural environment.

6 days from £1695(inc flights) Land Only Price: £1525 SRS: £150

During the high summer months, Sweden is home to a fascinating mix of Scandinavian and Eastern European butterfly species. This holiday is based in the area around Svartadalen, north-east of Stockholm and we will make daily excursions in search of species such as Purple-edged Copper and Northern Wall Brown; nearby forests are home to a variety of fritillaries, skippers and blues as well as some interesting dragonflies. We’ll look for the iconic (and recently recorded) Large Blue on an island in Lake Malaren; on another day we’ll visit a site known as ‘Butterfly Road’ on the Baltic coast where Silvery Argus and Large Grizzled Skipper will be among our target species. On our final day we’ll head to pine forests to look for Sweden’s rarest butterfly, Assmann’s Fritillary, plus Bog and Cranberry Fritillaries, and Northern Grizzled Skipper among other species, as well as birds including Black Grouse and Crested Tit.

  • Possibility of new discoveries to butterfly fauna still!
  • Mix of Scandinavian & Eastern European butterfly species
  • Up to 11 species of blue possible
  • Black-veined White & Clouded Apollo, Poplar Admiral & Scarce Copper
  • Scarce Fritillary, Cranberry Blue & Northern Chequered Skipper just south of Svartadalen
  • Large & Green-underside Blues plus Queen of Spain Fritillary, islands in Lake Malaren
  • Common Goldenring, Bog Hawker, Small Pincertail & Common Clubtail among dragonflies
  • Day-flying moths such as Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth
  • We will (weather permitting) run a moth-trap near our guesthouse
  • Capercaillie, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Crake & Black Tern among special birdlife
  • Led by expert naturalist


All included in the price.


Comfortable guesthouses. All rooms have private facilities.

Poplar Admiral (Daniel Green)

Poplar Admiral (Daniel Green)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Västerås (Stockholm) and transfer Svartådalen

Day 2/5 Butterfly excursionsfrom Svartådalen.

Day 6 Fly London.

Day 5 Omberg and Lake Vättern; the Eremitage

Day 6 Svartådalen

Day 7 Transfer Västerås (Stockholm) and fly London

During the high summer months, central Sweden is home to a fascinating mix of Scandinavian and Eastern European butterfly species. Several of these are found here at the southernmost limits of their ranges and in this part of Scandinavia, where north meets south, there might even be a few new discoveries to make, for only recently have populations of Large Blue, Chequered Blue and Duke of Burgundy been discovered. During this holiday we will be based in Svartådalen (the Black River Valley), a peaceful patchwork of wetlands, mixed woodlands and flowerfilled watermeadows that are home to a wonderful diversity of butterflies and dragonflies. Amongst the well-established species, highlights should include such charismatic butterflies as Clouded Apollo, Poplar Admiral and Scarce Copper. We also hope to see an abundance of blues — up to 11 species being possible! As this is also such a fantastic area for birds, we will be sure to take time to enjoy morning and late afternoon birding excursions around Lake Fläcksjön in search of such species as Black Tern, Spotted Crake, White-tailed Eagle, Thrush Nightingale and Common Rosefinch.

We begin our holiday with a direct flight to Västerås Airport, and then drive for one hour north to Svartådalen in the county of Västmanland. On our first full day we will head a little way to the south of Svartådalen, in search of the beautiful Poplar Admiral. At this time of year these butterflies are likely to be newly emerged and in pristine condition, and we hope to watch them descending from the canopy to take salts from wayside puddles. Common Swallowtail, Purple-edged Copper, Amanda’s Blue and possibly Northern Wall Brown can also be seen here. Later in the day we will visit a forest lake where Black-throated Divers are known to breed and around which we can look for Scarce Fritillary, Cranberry Blue, Northern Chequered Skipper and dragonflies such as Common Goldenring and Common Clubtail.

On another day we will head further south, visiting two highly productive butterfly sites, both on islands in the huge, sprawling Lake Mälaren. Here, the iconic Large Blue can be found on the slopes of an Iron Age burial mound, attracted by the patches of Wild Thyme that grow there. Green-underside Blue and Queen of Spain Fritillary can also be found on the adjacent grazed hillsides.

The Baltic coast and Fjarilsvagen Grinduga will be our focus on another day, where we will pay a visit to a site Swedish lepidopterists call the ‘Butterfly Road’ — an unassuming gravel track through a seemingly ordinary patch of pine forest. Here, not only do an interesting variety of orchids grow on the rich chalk soils but, as its name suggests, this is a great spot for butterflies such as Black-veined White, Silvery Argus and Large Grizzled Skipper. On our return journey to Svartådalen we will stop to look for another exciting species, the Clouded Apollo, but we will also be on the look out for a variety of dayflying moths including Broad-bordered and Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moths.
Sweden’s moths are not well known, and so on one or two nights we will run a moth trap near to our guesthouse. If time and weather permit, we will also try both a coniferous forest/bog site and a then a deciduous forest site to increase our species count. Northern Oak Eggar, several hawk-moths including Pine Hawkmoth, and the colourful ‘Peat-bog Carpet’ (Arichanna melanaria) are all possible.
On our final full day we will head north to an area where vast pine forests, lakes and mires dominate the landscape. This is the home of the rare Baltic Grayling, although, since this species has only one generation every couple of years, it’s not a butterfly we will see on every tour! Other species to look out for include Bog and Cranberry Fritillaries, Moorland Clouded Yellow, Northern Grizzled Skipper and, if fortunate, perhaps the striking Assmann’s Fritillary, Sweden’s rarest butterfly! Birds of these northern taiga forests include Capercaillie, Black Grouse, Crested Tit and Pied Flycatcher.

There will also be the opportunity to enjoy Sweden’s diverse dragonfly fauna throughout the tour. Ruby and Small Whiteface are abundant, though we will need a bit of luck to spot a Bog Hawker or Small Pincertail among the commoner species. To see one of the smallest and most localised damselflies in Europe, however, the Sedgling (Nehelennia speciosa), we have only to journey a few minutes from our hotel!

We should have time on our final morning to further explore the meadows, mires and forests around Svartådalen before driving the short distance back to Västerås Airport in time to catch our return journey home. 

Scarce Copper (Thomas Mills)Apollo (Daniel Green)Eyed Hawk-moth (Daniel Green)Cranberry Fritillary (Daniel Green)Marsh Fritillary (Daniel Green)Poplar Admiral (Daniel Green)Clouded Apollo (Daniel Green)Small Purple-barred Moth (Daniel Green)Traditional Swedish Farmhouse (Thomas Mills)Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar (Thomas Mills)Moorland Clouded Yellow (Daniel Green)Silver-studded Blues (Daniel Green)Sätra Brunn (Daniel Green)Lake Stävre (Daniel Green)Burnet Moth (Daniel Green)Heath Fritillary (Daniel Green)Trosa (Daniel Green)Large Blue (Daniel Green)Sunset (Daniel Green)Picnic site (Daniel Green)Scanning (Daniel Green)Group (Daniel Green)Lesser Marbled Fritillary (Daniel Green)Large Skipper (Daniel Green)Lesser Marbled Fritillary (Daniel Green)Pearly Heath (Daniel Green)Purple-edged Copper (Daniel Green)Amanda's Blue (Daniel Green)Common Blue (Daniel Green)Geranium Argus (Daniel Green)

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Sun 18th June 2017 - Fri 23rd June 2017



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Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £1525 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Sweden

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Kerrie Porteous
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01962 733051

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